Eric Clapton wants nothing to do with vaccine passports — and that includes at his own concerts.
Responding to an announcement from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that anyone wanting to enter nightclubs or other crowded venues will have to show proof of COVID vaccination beginning in September, the legendary rock star issued a statement Wednesday.
“Following the PM’s announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021, I feel honour bound to make an announcement of my own: I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present,” Clapton said, adding, “Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”
Conservatives applauded Clapton’s stance, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeting, “Artists should defend individual Liberty. I very much support vaccines, but it should be your choice—not forced upon you.”
Blaze podcast host Steve Deace said, “Eric Clapton is basically Patrick Henry now.”
Finally, British journalist and filmmaker Sonia Poulton thanked Clapton and “all musicians who show true integrity by refusing to perform at venues using a totalitarian system of entry.” She added, “It’s impossible for me to respect those going along with this. Human & artistic sell outs controlled by the Govt.”
Of course, the man Rolling Stone dubbed the world’s second-best guitarist (after Jimi Hendrix) had his detractors as well.
Author and Time Magazine columnist Ian Bremmer lamented, “Wow. I love Clapton. Sorry to learn he’s such an a**hole.”
Liz Buckley, label manager for Ace Records, sneered, “Funnily enough, I will not attend shows where Eric Clapton is required.”
Meanwhile, the official account for the left-wing political blog, The Palmer Report, tweeted, “Used to be you’d hope you got to see aging rock stars in concert before they died. These days you hope you get to see them before they become Eric Clapton.”
This isn’t the first time the rock-and-roll-hall-of-famer has shown an independent streak when it comes to COVID policy.
In December, he and pal Van Morrison protested government lockdowns in the manner one would most expect from rock stars — with a song. Their single, “Stand and Deliver,” includes lyrics that explicitly warn against giving the government that much power:
Do you wanna be a free man
Or do you wanna be a slave …
Do you wanna wear these chains
Until you’re lying in the grave?
Magna Carta, Bill of Rights
The constitution, what’s it worth?
You know they’re gonna grind us down, ah
Until it really hurts
Is this a sovereign nation
Or just a police state?
You better look out, people
Before it gets too late
“It is deeply upsetting to see how few gigs are going ahead because of the lockdown restrictions,” Clapton said at that time. “There are many of us who support Van [Morrison] and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration… we must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”
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